Dubai: Zip lining, bungee jumping and new animal babies are readying to welcome visitors to Dubai Safari when it reopens for the next season in September, a top official said on Monday.
The adventurous sports facilities will be located in the Adventure Valley of the Park, according to Ahmad Al Zarouni, Director of Public Parks and Recreational Facilities at Dubai Municipality.
“The Adventure Valley has three areas including a splash zone for the kids to play ... It is hundred per cent ready. We are looking forward for it to be operational next season,” he told Gulf News during a media briefing at the seasonal closing ceremony of the Park on Monday.
“We had around 290 new animal babies last season and some are on the way,” he said, indicating that visitors would also be able to see new animal babies at the wildlife centre.
The official said the municipality also aimed at launching special entry packages to attract the visitors to Dubai Safari, especially during the Dubai Expo 2020.
The closure will allow the Park to protect its animals from any health risks due to the high summer temperatures and upgrade its facilities to further enhance the visitor experience.
During the closure period, the Park would undergo thorough maintenance and animals would also be trained further while being kept under air-conditioned and artificially cooled holding areas.
“We want to be in the best shape during the Expo,” Al Zarouni said.
New animal cubs
Dubai Safari Park has been working on animal breeding programmes locally and globally. Al Zarouni said the new cubs that arrived in the current season included cubs of zebras and hyenas.
“We are expecting new babies of giraffes and some other animals. Last [season], we had four lion cubs and hopefully we will get some more next season.”
He indicated that animals exchanged from other zoos and safaris would also be part of the new season. “We are working with our partners internationally.”
Asked about the elephant breeding programme, he said: “We have four elephants. They are still young. They need like…maybe four years, for breeding.” The official said the animals are constantly monitored for health and safety, especially during summer months.
He said the Park conducted 70 simulations involving 7000 volunteers last season to check for health hazards of animals. “Our animals are our biological assets. We are taking all the precautions to safeguard their health,” he said, adding that no animal death was reported in the last season.
No COVID-19, no animal death
Strict precautionary and preventive measures have also applied across the park to ensure a safe environment for visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality’s Health and Safety Department have also been visiting the park to check for violations. Al Zarouni said no major violations were reported and thanked the visitors for cooperating with the authorities in following the safety protocols.
In the wake of the international reports about some animals catching COVID-19, the animals in Dubai Safari were also monitored. “We have our health team regularly checking the animals. Sickness is something normal in life. But, there was nothing related to COVID-19,” he said, clarifying that no animal in Dubai Safari had become infected.
Following the COVID-19 safety protocols, the Park had been operating with 30 per cent of its visitor capacity. The entry restrictions would be changed depending on the guidelines when it reopens, said Al Zarouni.
Grand closing ceremony
Visitors, including invited media representatives, were treated to a grand closing ceremony with a massive parade of performers across the main villages of the Park. The performers also showcased the dogs and birds taking part in the special shows at the Park.
The Park is home to around 3,000 animals, including 78 species of mammals – 10 different carnivores and 17 primates –; 50 types of reptiles; 111 kinds of birds as well as amphibians and invertebrates. These include rare animals like Komodo dragon, spiral-horned antelope, Arabian Oryx, coloured African wild dog, gorilla, gibbon, bongo, and lemur.
Spanning 119 hectares of immaculately landscaped spaces that provide hospitable animal habitats, the Park currently comprises three main villages, the African Village, Asian Village and Explorer Village and also includes an Arabian Desert Safari tour. Each village in the Safari Park represents a different climate and ecosystem and houses distinctive species of animals.
“We are the biggest park in Dubai. We provide edutainment, awareness about animals. People can come and see the animals, learn about them and also enjoy in the park,” Al Zarouni said, inviting animal lovers to visit the wildlife in its next season happening with more thrills in cooler climes.